7 December 2018

Six new members of staff have joined the Shropshire Diabetic Eye Screening team providing more opportunities for patients to access clinics in the evenings and at weekends.

Every year more than 25,000 patients with diabetes across Shropshire, aged 12 and above, are invited to be screened to check for diabetic retinopathy, a condition that can lead to sight loss if it is not treated.

There has been an increase in the number of people being diagnosed with diabetes, with The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) seeing around 140 new patients every month; and as a result, SaTH has managed to secure extra funding for an additional four new screening practitioners to meet the additional demand. This recruitment is in addition to two new screening practitioners who joined the Trust at the beginning of the year.

Andy James, Shropshire Diabetic Eye Screening Programme Manager, said: “We were successful in applying for extra funding, which means we have been able to take on new team members.

“It means that if there is demand, we are now in a position to start offering more frequent out-of-hours appointments at the Royal Shrewsbury and Princess Royal Hospitals as we know that not everyone can attend clinics Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

“It is people of working age that are in the higher risk group for diabetic retinopathy, so it is important that we have the potential to offer them access to an out-of-hours clinic. It means that they don’t have to take time out of their working day to attend.”

Diabetic eye screening is a key part of diabetes care. As part of the national NHS screening programme, patients with diabetes are screened on an annual basis to detect signs of diabetic retinopathy. The eye test is a simple non-invasive procedure which involves examining and photographing the back of the eye.

The Shropshire Diabetic Eye Screening team is based at the Hummingbird Centre at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH). As well as clinics at RSH and PRH, the team also provides a community screening programme at more than 20 venues around the county.